I plopped down on the driver’s seat and glanced across to my daughter Lindsay, whose face was streaked with tears, “What’s wrong?”
“Beth’s grandfather died. She sent a Snapchat, crying, saying she just said her last goodbye,” Lindsay recounted the message from her best friend.
Sal had been in failing health – still, it is sad to lose someone you love, especially someone special like Sal.
Immediately I texted John, “I’m sorry to hear about your dad. If there is anything I can do, please let me know,” and ended it with a broken heart emoji. There was an immediate reply of thanks. I let it go at that.
Our friends are our “framily.”
Around five that afternoon, I stopped by Sally and Andy’s house for a glass of wine, a regular practice of mine.
By now, I was sure they knew, “Did you hear Sal died?”
“No,” they both said, saddened.
Over the years, we have all enjoyed great times with John’s dad, Sal – a gregarious and fun guy.
Andy reached for his phone, “I’ll text John.”
He typed a similar message. Moments later, Andy received a simple thanks.
“I better tell the guys,” Andy texted their guy-group, who at the time were together at a city event planning meeting. “God, remember when he would cheer at the kids’ games?”
“He loved to talk sports.”
“Those days at the racetrack.”
An hour passed when suddenly all three of our phones dinged alerting us to a message.
Andy reached for his phone, while Sally reached for a fresh bottle of wine. “This must be the official announcement from John,” Andy said, glancing down at his phone. “Crap! He’s not dead!”
“Sal is not dead!”
John’s text message was to inform everyone that his father was being moved to a facility.
Immediately Andy started calling, “Jim, never mind.”
“What?” he turned towards us, “They bought food.”
Sally yelped, “They can’t take it there.”
“You can’t take it there. He’s not dead,” Andy shouted into his phone, “How should I know how long chicken keeps?”
Andy turned to us, “They’re on John’s street.”
“NO!” We shouted.
Minutes later, the door flew open and in barged a framily mob.
“Who said he was dead?” they demanded.
It was then that my vermillion-toned face revealed the culprit. Moi.
“Lindsay said, Beth…”
“You’re a rumor monger.”
“Maybe a little bit.”
They spread grease-stained buckets and bags of fried chicken, fries and coleslaw across the island.
Suddenly, the room went silent. Listening.
Michelle asked, “Do you hear something? Moaning?”
“Is that a bagpipe?” Andy questioned.
The haunting sound grew louder until Ron strolled in, playing the bagpipe. Once inside, he pushed the mouthpiece to his left, “When are we going over?”
Jim pulled the decorative trumpet off the wall and played taps.
Mary, John’s wife arrived, “I hear there’s some fried chicken for us?” she smiled.
Right behind her came Lindsay, “I’m so sorry,” she declared.
Mary wrapped her arms around her, “It’s okay, an honest mistake, it was her last goodbye… before she goes to college.”
“To Sal, the best guy ever, we’re gonna miss you – someday.”
The thing about framily is that they’re always there for you. Sometimes prematurely.
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